Sunday, January 23, 2005

24 Hours . . .

Some of you might know and some of you might not, but for nearly a year I've been working on a project at 24HrsInAYear. The plan was to take one picture a day at a set time, and moving that time forward by an hour every two weeks or so, so that on the first day I was taking the picture between 12 and 1 in the morning, and by the end I would be taking it between 11 and 12 at night, giving me 366 views of my life that ranged an entire day. I've been taking the pictures and posting them and not going through to check my progress as I worked. But the project is set to end on February 8th, and I don't have the pictures saved anywhere except the website, so this past week I went through and saved them all to my computer, arranging them in folders, and labeling them.

I wasn't sure, when I started, how the whole thing would turn out. It's strange to look back over them and see where I was and who I was with at a given time almost a year ago. Looking over the pictures, June comes back the clearest--looking at those pictures, those 5-6AM shots, I can really feel June and early summer. There are pictures of open windows and bookshelves--mine, and other people's--that make me think of the breeze. In Jill's bedroom, at night, it sounded like the ocean, and I told her so. Today, in late January, and with a different girl on my mind, I'd forgotten a lot of what June felt like. I'd reorganized it in my brain, maybe. Even though Jill isn't in many of those pictures, physically I mean, I see a lot of her all the same. Those pictures bring back the abstract feeling of summer.

There are a lot of abstract feelings in those pictures, and a lot of nights that I can remember clearly only because of the pictures. When I go on vacations, I'm the sort of guy who never brings a camera, but is glad when my friends do. I think the experience of a new place is best taken in when you're focusing on being there NOW, instead of taking a picture to savor later. That's why I liked this project--most of the pictures are pretty mundane. Most of the pictures are from my apartment, of empty dishes or bathroom towels drying. I'm shaving in one of them. A few are from classrooms and a few are in cars. Some are of other people, strangers and friends, and sometimes I told them what I was doing and sometimes I didn't. Once, I was yelled at over what was in a picture, or what was perceived to be there.

As of today, being Monday, January 24th, I'm in the 11-12 slot that will wrap the project up. I still haven't decided if I'll keep going or not--most of the people who enjoy seeing the pictures and have told me so have been strangers, and that makes me want to continue. I also think it would be interesting to have another year to compare this one to, to see if I get out of the house more, or to see who sticks around and who leaves, or to see what abstract feelings I can capture over the next 365 days. In any event, if anyone has ever checked in on these pictures from time to time, I think this is an interesting point to look at them again. I'd love to hear what patterns other people see, if there are any to be seen.

Here are a few pictures I really liked when I was going through them again:

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